Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Buck kids needed for comparison study

As indicated in previous blog entries and e-mails, we will need fifteen pairs of genetically-similar bucks for our comparison study of pen vs. pasture-fed goats.  We will need a total of 30 bucks:  15 to go in the pen and 15 to go on pasture.

We are looking for bucks that will weigh approximately 40 lbs. on June 2.  In order to make valid comparisons, the goats need to start at similar weights.  There was too much variation (in starting weights) in last year's preliminary study.  The bucks should be full or half-sibs, as similar genetics are also necessary for a valid comparison.

Spanish buck in last year's study
Our grant will allow us to pay $100 for the 40-lb. goats used in the study. Producers will retain ownership of the bucks until the end of the feeding period (around September 15), after which time they will receive payment for their goats, regardless of how their goats performed in the study. All of the goats designated for the study will be harvested to collect carcass data.  Producers will receive performance data on the goats in the study, but will not be able to keep any of the bucks for breeding.

One buck from the pair will be put in the pen for feeding:  free choice hay, plus once a day grain feeding. The other buck will graze along side the bucks in the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. The bucks in the study will be handled the same as those in the pasture test, except that they will not be artificially challenged with infective worm larvae and they will not be evaluated for reproductive or structural soundness.

Consigners that provide bucks for the comparison study may still consign up to five bucks to the pasture test. Providing bucks for the study will be a great way to get carcass data on goats that are half-sibs to those on test. Consigners will be given first preference for providing goats for the study.

If you have any questions about the study and/or providing goats, please contact me at (301) 432-2767 x343 or The pen vs. pasture-fed study is being funded by a grant from the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.